Sunday, October 21, 2007

Petition for, please read!

Outsider Writers, and the people signing this petition, urge to add an “Alternative” literature listing under its “Books” pull-down menu. Alternative Literature needs a room of its own. I have spent close to a year trying to get Amazon to make a decision on this issue without a response, so now it is time to see if people who buy and sell books on Amazon want to see have an “Alternative Literature” listing.

Amazon is an extremely important online sales tool for independent publishers and authors. Bookstore shelf space is more limited than ever, and it can be impossible to find new poetry or fiction from independent publishers. That is why independent publishers increasingly use online sites such as to market their books.

There are thousands and thousands of products listed on Amazon, but Amazon has made it easy to browse through products until you find what you want. Its site has pull down menus for main product categories. Click on “Books” and you will find extensive listings for everything from Graphic Novels to Performing Arts to SF and Fantasy. There is even a Poetry category. There is not such a Literature category, though.

The Amazon system works well if you want to browse through mainstream publications, or if you already know the author and/or title. But if you are looking for “Alternative” you have a problem. There is no Alternative category. The Alternative literature is there, but it is crowded out by the mainstream books. If you don’t know exactly what Alternative writing you are looking for, you won’t find it--but if you want to browse you will find plenty o’ pages listing books, but the Alternative writing is buried among the mainstream products.

It is time for Amazon to create an Alternative listing in its Books section, dedicated to alternative/underground poetry, fiction and prose. Amazon can start by simply listing books from small, independent publishers, and then can create subsections under Alternative, for poetry, flash fiction, political writing, and other subgroups. This would be great for publishers, authors, readers--and Amazon itself.

Victor Schwartzman

Outsider Writers

The petition can be found at:


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Anonymous said...

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